Now Serving: Healthier Hospital Initiatives

News

Pali Momi Medical Center recently answered a nation-wide call-to-action aimed at improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector.

Deemed the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), this project plans to enroll at least 2,000 hospitals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia over the next three years. Self-reported data collected during this time will provide an “unprecedented snapshot” of the U.S. health care industry, with the hopes of illustrating how these efforts directly and indirectly impact the health of the American public.

“Our community is important to us, and their health is equally just as important,” says Pali Momi Director of Food and Nutrition Services Miriam Tcheng, RD, who oversees the HHI program at the hospital.

“We want to make sure, as a hospital, that we make a commitment to them,” Tcheng says.

Hospitals that participate in HHI are asked to commit to at least one of six HHI Challenges.

Each challenge targets one of the following impact areas:

  • Healthier Food – Offer healthier food for staff, patients and visitors
  • Less Waste – Reduce waste and increase recycling
  • Leaner Energy – Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Engaged Leadership – Support the institutionalization of an organization-wide sustainability initiative
  • Safer Chemicals – Transition to safer chemicals in materials and products
  • Smarter Purchasing – Purchase environmentally preferable products

“Currently, we are just focusing on the Healthier Food challenge, but with a goal at looking at the other initiatives such as Less Waste and Leaner Energy as other ways we can be involved,” Tcheng says.

To address this HHI Challenge, Pali Momi has continued its efforts toward ensuring the food it provides patients, staff and customers who frequent the Hauoli Court Dining Room is not only healthy, but also comes from local and/or sustainable sources.

“We offer a whole-wheat bread as the primary option for our grill items, and our salad bar only offers low-fat or fat-free salad dressing options,” Tcheng says. “In the morning, we have our wonderful fruit and yogurt bar so customers have a nice, healthy option to choose from. We also work with our produce vendor to identify what is in season and locally available.”

In April 2015, the dining facility eliminated its fryer in order to make room for better options.

“When you fry foods, you are adding about 40 to 50 percent more calories to the item,” Tcheng explains. “We plan on still having the favorite ‘fried’ foods baked, making them healthier.”

Pali Momi vending machines also have gotten an overhaul.

“We are working with our vendors to provide healthier options, such as low-calorie drinks and fruit. With the bottling companies, we are requesting that they make the healthier, low-calorie beverages at eye level to encourage visitors to select those items. We have also taken a look at our fountain machine and put more low-calorie options on it,” Tcheng says.

“At Pali Momi, we want to make sure that we do have those healthier options available for customers, and we encourage them to select it,” Tcheng adds. “They can come to Pali Momi knowing that we will make every effort to help them keep on track with their own personal goals to be healthier.”

Participation in HHI is part of a Hawaii Pacific Health initiative slated to roll out to all four facilities, to include Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Clinic & Hospital, and Wilcox Memorial Hospital on Kauai.

Published on: April 25, 2015